With 13 seconds on the game clock, Matt Bryant kicked the game-winning field goal for the Atlanta Falcons, but what happened next almost cost Atlanta the game.
Instead of attempting to kick the ball out of the end zone on the impending kickoff, punter Matt Bosher squibbed it—badly, at that—and the Seattle Seahawks recovered the ball at their own 46-yard line, setting up a potential game-winning Hail Mary pass from Russell Wilson.
Via the Atlanta Falcons:
That's the way you want this game to end, Mike Smith?
It's not like Wilson and the Seahawks haven't already won a game in this fashion once before.
Thankfully for the Falcons and their fans, Wilson wasn't able to connect on the attempt, thanks to a terrific play from wide receiver Julio Jones, who was playing deep as a cornerback.
But there's no excuse for such a boneheaded decision with the game on the line. It's a lot harder to go 80 yards in 10 seconds than 50, and any coach worth his salt knows this.
Danny Mara states the obvious:
Matt Bryant can't squib kick #KickersArePeopleToo— danny mara (@therealgiantDAN) January 13, 2013
SI.com's Chris Burke thinks that Bryant made the decision to kick an onside kick on his own, though I'm not sure I agree:
Matt Bryant picked a weird time to audible to an onside kick.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) January 13, 2013
Worst onside kick in history. I think Matt Bryant tried his hardest to pull a billy cundiff— Ryan Stark (@ryanstark98) January 13, 2013
And the Democrat and Chronicle's Sal Maiorana opines:
And then the squib. Kick it out of the end zone!!!! Unreal. These guys get paid to be morons. I can't even believe this stuff— Sal Maiorana (@salmaiorana) January 13, 2013
I have to agree with Maiorana, here. There's no logical reason to squib a kick with only 12 seconds left on the clock. Kick it out of the back of the end zone and make the other team go the length of the field.
Thankfully, this play didn't prematurely end the Falcons' season, but it could have.
I'm betting Smith won't call another squib should he find his team in similar circumstances next Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78